Home Formula 4French F4 Honda sends teenagers Ren Sato and Ayumu Iwasa to French F4

Honda sends teenagers Ren Sato and Ayumu Iwasa to French F4

by Peter Allen

Photo: Japanese F4

Two Honda juniors will compete full-time in French Formula 4 in 2020, with Japanese F4 champion Ren Sato and Suzuka Racing School graduate Ayumu Iwasa both heading to Europe.

SRS, where Takuma Sato is a former graduate and now principal of the programme, began a partnership with the FFSA Academy (organisers of French F4) in 2019 when Ren Sato and Kakunoshin Ohta – first and second in Japanese F4 at the time – competed in a French F4 round at Magny-Cours.

In return, Victor Bernier and Isack Hadjar – first and second in French F4’s Junior classification – visited Japan to test the Dome-Honda single-seaters used in SRS-Formula, with French karters Maceo Capietto and Gaspard Simon also making the trip.

Sato, 18, dominated Japanese F4 in his sophomore season last year, winning 11 of the 14 races.

But instead of following the footsteps of 2018 champion Yuki Tsunoda – who graduated to Euroformula Open and FIA Formula 3 Championship and is now moving up to Formula 2 – Sato will contest a full season in French F4.

Sato scored best results of 11th on his Magny-Cours debut after qualifying on the back row of the grid, while Ohta – who eventually slumped to sixth in the Japanese series – fared better, taking second in the reversed-grid race two.

Iwasa, also 18, will head straight to Europe after winning the SRS-F Scholarship for 2019. His predecessor Atsushi Miyake finished second to Sato in Japanese F4 last year. Iwasa previously contested solitary Japanese F4 rounds in both 2017 and 2018.

SRS-F cars were used for a demonstration race at Motegi last November, which had a grid that included Takuma Sato and four Super Formula race-winners.